As the sun rises in Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, monks begin their daily ritual to collect alms (donations of food). Barefoot and dressed only in a saffron coloured robes, their only accessory to the ritual is the large bowl the monk carries. known as ‘Bat’, these bowls have remained the same design for generations and are still made by traditional communities in Thailand. One such community exists in Bangkok and represents a good example of a Thai traditional way of life – Ban Bat. The community originally fled war in Ayutthaya to take refuge in Bangkok and although the community has declined due to the introduction of factory produced Bat, there are still a small number of families making Bat in the traditional way. It takes around two days to produce a Bat using traditional methods. The bowl is made in 8 pieces that are hammered into shape and held together by a metal rim. Despite the complexity and time consuming nature of the process, souvenir Bats are available from the community at very reasonable prices. Although clearly a very important glimpse into Thailand’s history and culture.
©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved